Do you enjoy cooking with fresh herbs? Growing your own herb garden can be both fun and cost-effective. Growing them in containers – or Natures Distributing Stacking Planters – is a way to enjoy them all year round.
Herbs are easy to grow from seed or you can start with plants from your local nursery or garden center. Like flowers, herbs can be classified as annuals or perennials. You’ll want to choose those that you enjoy or use most – or read the descriptions and see if there are some you would like to try.
- Fill pots with a high quality potting mixture and follow seed sowing depths and thinning as recommended on individual seed packets. If planting established plants, it is still important to use a good quality soil.
- If you are using seeds, place a new kitchen trash bag over the container once the seeds are planted will act as a hothouse and encourages seed development. Once seeds are sprouted, remove trash bag and grow as normal.
- Once plants are established, ornamental rocks, mulch or pebbles spread across the surface area of your soil will also assist moisture retention.
- Feed your plants regularly to encourage healthy growth and keep the herbs trimmed.
- If herbs begin to outgrow their planting area, divide them. Insert a small shovel into the back of the growing area, lift entire plants and roots from container and break in half. Re-pot half of the herb back in your stacking planter and give a friend the other fresh herb plant to enjoy.
- Rotate your pots regularly to keep an even light distribution and encourage equal foliage.
- To create an even more stunning display, additional Stacking Planters may be purchased and added to produce a towering effect.
Herbs We Love
There’s a wide array of herbs that will add flavor to your cooking, a wonderful scent to the air and are lovely to look at. Try those listed below and see what your favorites are:
Sweet Basil Basil an annual herb and an essential ingredient in many Mediterranean foods. Basil grows easily from seeds. To increase leaf yield, pinch back and use the leaves in cooking. The leaves near the top are the sweetest. To increase leaf production, remove blooms as it flowers.
Chives This perennial herb is standard fare in summer salads and soups – and a snappy addition to any food. Their long, cylindrical leaves have an onion-like flavor and you can even use the purple flowers (which bloom in early spring) as a colorful edible addition to salads. Garlic chives have strap like leaves and white flowers in the late summer.
Cilantro Cilantro an annual herb used in Mexican, Thai and Vietnamese foods as a herb and garnish. Snip leaves to increase yield. If cilantro matures, its seeds are called coriander.
Dill Dill is an annual herb that will often re-seed itself. Both its leaves and seeds are flavorful and can be used in cooking. Harvest fresh leaves for use in salads and soups or with grilled fish. The seed heads of “mammoth” dill can be harvested when the seeds turn light brown.
Lavender This perennial is a member of the mint family and the most popular of aromatic herbs. It is loved for its beautiful, fresh scent. Pick flowers in full bloom and place in a small vase. The scent is used in the leaves, stems and flowers. Early morning is the best time to harvest as that is when the oils are strongest.
Mint Mint is a perennial that is used to flavor teas and other drinks. There are many different varieties to try, each with its own subtle flavor and scent. For the best flavor, harvest mint leaves before the plant flowers. Mint plants increase growth when pinched back.
Oregano This perennial herb, with its pungent aroma and flavor is what you love on pizzas and in Mexican dishes. The leaves are most flavorful when harvested before the plants flower. Cut individual leaves anytime, or cut entire plant back to four inches before flowering. Oregano can be dried for later use.
Parsley Although parsley is a biennial, most gardeners treat it as an annual. It is used in nearly all cuisines. Parsley is flavorful and adds a deep green color to soups and salads. Used as a garnish, parsley tastes best when harvested young.
Rosemary This pungent perennial herb will add exotic flavor to meats, potatoes, soups and pizzas. Rosemary also dries well and retains its flavor if sealed in an airtight container. Harvest sprigs before the plant flowers. Young stems will produce the most tender leaves. It is a tender perennial so they must be moved indoors if you live in the north.
Sage Sage is a perennial, gray and woolly when young. Violet-glue flowers appear in spikes in summer. Widely used in Mediterranean cooking as a condiment for meat and fish, and as a basis for sage tea. Freshly picked leaves or leaves dried in shade, picked before flowering have various herbal uses.
Thyme No kitchen should be without this perennial herb. These low-growing, extremely furry little plants have very small leaves. Thyme can be used to season meats, fish and soups, as well as sauces. Thyme dries very well; snip leafy stems when the plants are flowering for best flavor.